Do you fret over the state of this nation? Get angry about Obamacare? Get worked up watching Fox News? Are you fearful about the way things are going with our government?
If so, Psalm 37 has some good instruction for you. For all of us. Psalm 37 tells us the wicked and the righteous live in society together. The psalm says the wicked hate the righteous, plot against them, gnash their teeth at them, and draw their swords and bend their bows to bring the righteous down. The wicked pursue the abundance of the world and enrich themselves by borrowing and not paying back. They unjustly accuse the righteous. The wicked gain power and “spread out” by ruthlessness and aggression.
The righteous are tempted to fret because of the wicked, or to respond to them with anger and aggression. To fight fire with fire. But God gives the righteous instructions which we are wise to heed when tempted to anger at the unrighteous, especially when we are affected by their sin.
Here’s what God tells us to do. Instead of fuming over the government, or anxious about our company or aggressive toward our neighbor, God says:
Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers! (1)
Three times in the Psalm God says, “Fret not.” Don’t be fearful. Don’t get anxious. Instead he tells us to:
Trust in the Lord and do good
Cultivate faithfulness to God
Delight yourself in the Lord
Commit your way to the Lord
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him
Refrain from anger and wrath
Turn from evil and do good
Wait for the Lord and keep his way
God says if we do these things, he’ll give us all we need. The righteous will inherit the land. The wicked will be cut off, and the meek will inherit the earth. He promises this numerous times in the psalm.
God says if we fret and fume over the unrighteous it will only lead us into sin and evil ourselves. If we trust God and delight ourselves in him, he will give us contentment and supply all our needs.
In essence, here’s what Psalm 37 says: The wicked focus on this world and aggressively go after all they can get of it by hook or crook, and it seems like they prosper. The righteous focus on God, who satisfies them with himself. The wicked, who pursue the world, eventually not only lose the world, but their souls as well. The righteous gain God who provides enough of the world to meet their needs and eventually they inherit the new heaven and new earth which God will someday create.
So don’t fret. If watching political news programs gets you agitated, or you’re tempted to anger at your rising taxes, read Psalm 37. Keep reading it. It’s rich and comforting and will help you trust the Lord.
Mark Altrogge serves as a pastor at Sovereign Grace Church. Find out more at The Blazing Center.